New York Rangers keep adding points to their best start since 1971-72

New York Rangers
Dec 4, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (23) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks in the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are the hottest team in the NHL winning ten of their last eleven games. They are riding a six game winning streak and don’t appear to be slowing down.

Gerard Gallant continues to build on his bid for another Jack Adams Award as his team’s record is now 16-4-3 for 35 points. Those 16 wins are the most through their first 23 games since Henrik Lundqvist’s heydays in 2015-16 and the 1994 Stanley Cup Championship season.

Their 35 points are also tied for second most in that span since the 1971-72 Rangers led by the likes of Emile Francis and his GAG Line of Rod Gilbert, Jean Ratelle, and Vic Hadfield. That team eventually went to the Stanley Cup Final where they fell to Bobby Orr’s Boston Bruins.

New York Rangers continue to impress

Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome both collected one goal and two assists to lead the host New York Rangers to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, extending their winning streak to six games.

“I think we work together pretty good and there’s good energy in the locker room, off ice too,” Panarin said of Strome. “Good friends. We respect each other. Then coach gives us confidence too.”

Adam Fox notched one goal and one assist, while goaltender Alexandar Georgiev made 25 saves for the Rangers, who have won 10 of their last 11 games.

Strome’s power-play goal, his second in as many nights, evened the game before the five-minute mark of the frame. Strome finished a three-way passing play that also featured Fox and Panarin to net his fifth of the campaign.

Fox scored the go-ahead goal with 2:35 remaining in the period.

artemi panarin
Dec 4, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (10) celebrates with his teammates after scoring in third period against the Chicago Blackhawks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Panarin’s shot was blocked by the maze of players in front of the net, but Fox was on the spot to bury the rebound and collect his fifth goal of the season. The shifty defenseman is riding a six-game point-scoring streak in which he’s collected one goal and nine points. He’s netted 25 points (5-20-25) in 23 games.

Then Panarin’s seventh goal of the year with 5:14 remaining in regulation, a rebound tally after which he celebrated with a leg kick worthy of the Rockettes, made it a 3-1 game and held up as the game winner.

“I can judge by his answers how he’s feeling, even if he won’t admit it,” Strome said of chemistry with Panarin. “He had it going against his former team.”

Ranger able to play any type of game and win

The Rangers extended their winning streak to six and did so in another one goal game. By beating the Blackhawks 3-2, it was their 8th win in a tight contest. Only the Minnesota Wild have more this season with 9.

“We try and play the same way, we don’t change,” Gallant said after the game. “You don’t want to play the last six minutes backing off. We want to forecheck and that’s how you win hockey games.”

This season the team seems extremely comfortable in tight games as they are 8-1-3. It’s something that Jacob Trouba noted after they beat the Sharks 1-0 on Friday.

“You’ve got to play what the game calls for,” Trouba said. “You get put in those situations, you find a way to break the puck out, dump it in a lot, make the plays and get up the ice and find a way to play our game. Different teams are going to present different challenges, but it’s nice to win a game, 1-0.” 

Up and down the lineup there’s a different vibe. In hockey, we hear the phrase “next man up” a lot when a player gets injured. The Blueshirts certainly have had to deal with injuries this season. Early in the year they lost Strome to COVID protocol for a few games, Kaapo Kakko to an upper-body injury for four games, and Sammy Blais for the season with a torn ACL.

Now, the Blueshirts must contend without their #1 goalie Igor Shesterkin for a week. It just doesn’t seem to phase them.

“We’re coming to the rink expecting to win games,” Strome said about the feel in the room. “We’re coming knowing we’re a good team and we have the ability to win games when we put it together and that’s what we’ve been doing. It’s a good feeling right now.”

NHL Rumors

Braden Holtby and Marc-Andre Fleury expected to lead a hot goalie trade market, and more rumors here.

–Field Level Media contributed to this report